Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) is a plant species in the family Apiaceae closely related to celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) depending on whether the petioles (stalks) or roots are eaten.
Celery was described by Carolus Linnaeus in Volume One of his Species Plantarum in 1753.
The closely related Apium bermejoi from the island of Minorca is one of the rarest plants in Europe, with fewer than 100 individuals left.
Celery is used around the world as a vegetable, either for the crisp petiole (leaf stalk) or the fleshy toproot.
In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds, see right.
Actually very small fruit, these "seeds" yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries.
They also contain an organic compound called apiol.
Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice, either as whole seeds or ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt.
Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning.
Celery, onions, and bell peppers are "the holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Celery, onions, and carrots make up the French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups.
Celery is a staple in many soups, such as chicken noodle soup.
Celery is widely eaten by guinea pigs, dogs, horses, birds, squirrels, and small rodents.